... so after the Opening Ceremony on Thursday evening; the Team had a lovely Chinese Wok buffet at the nearby restaurant to the Hotel. It made a nice different to us, as all week, Colin and I have been living on frites. Although the frites are very nice but 3 days in a row is not nice anymore!
We have a nice early start on Friday. I like the system that we have been grouped into 3 different groups. I think they randomly picked some countries and group them up together. Team England is in Group B, together with Wales, Jersey, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Denmark and a Wild Card Nigel Staines. There were 3 rings altogether; a main indoor ring and 2 outdoor rings, they rotate each group at each ring. This is the best system I have seen so far, no one is missing out of any of their runs and still be able to support their team-mates. I was a little bit lost on Friday morning, not knowing the system too well, I missed watching Team England at the outdoor rings in the morning. All my runs for the three days were all indoor and like what I normally do in England, I stayed at the rings that I will be running. Of course, I've learned and catch up with my team-mates at the outdoor rings. I really enjoyed watching everyone.
Funny enough, I was rather chilled and relaxed since I arrived on Monday. That is not like me at all. Normally, I will be restless, nervous, unsettled ... for a change, I was not bothered at all. We were given the course map first thing in the morning and then afternoon. I ran through the course in my head before walking it, so I roughly have the idea what the course is like before we can walk it for real. We only have 12 minutes for the whole Group and all heights to walk together. It's rather crowded and you really have to be pushy and not be shy. I am not a pushy person and I did struggle a bit to start with but I soon learned!
Sizzle got picked to do the Biathlon and Games. My first run on Friday morning was the Snooker, judge by Scott Chamberlain. I am not a Games expert, looking at the course map below for the first time, I haven't got a clue what to do or how to run it. Luckily, there are quite a few Games expert in our Team and they kindly guide me through the course map before walking. As to my understanding, you need to collect as many points as possible in the opening sequence. By looking at the course map, the 4 red jumps were well spread around the course and they are not close to the highest 7 points. You know your dog well and you need to plan to collect the highest points possible within time. I chose to collect 2 x 6 points and 1 x 7 points; reason being that doing the tunnel (6 points) is quicker that doing the 7 points jumps combinations. There is rule set on the 7 points jumps, you must take the middle jump #7a first then follow by the outside jumps (#7b then #7c) or (#7c then #7b) in the opening. I would not want to take the risk of collecting 3 x 7 points if we cannot finish them in the set time. I think that is a lot to ask for a little dog to do the jumps combinations. Sizzle ran rather well in the Opening and sadly got caught in the Closing weave pole. He took the entry beautifully but doubled up the poles; so we lost out on collecting more points in the Closing. He only collected 31 points in total and was lying 17th. I found that running Snooker is rather tricky as you need to run past obstacles but I am so glad that Sizzle was very responsive and is always with me when I need him to to be. He was a great little boy!
There weren't really a lunch break, they ran through it the whole day. My afternoon run was the Biathlon Jumping in the main ring. It is the same judge as our Snooker run in the morning. The course looked rather challenging on the paper but it was actually a nice flowie course with a couple of tricky bits. The most challenging part is #9, #10, #11, and #12. I know I won't be able to do a front cross before #9, so I will be behind Sizzle. I was hoping to trust him and send him to take #9 and do a rear across, that will give me a better position to RUSH to #11 to do a front cross. I needed that front cross to do a "out around" on #12. It looked a bit hairy but we ran clear! We were lying 9th after that round.
I was ended up "high" after our Biathlon Jumping. My aim is to get a clear round and we DID it. I was very very very happy. It was a long day, by the time we got back to the Hotel and got something to eat, its ready for bed. We have to be up at 4:30am as we need to be at the Venue around 5:45am! It was an extremely early start on Saturday! Sizzle and I only have the Gamblers run in the afternoon but it is good to be there to cheer for the Team. I like the Team Spirit.
The Gambler was judge by our English judge Lee Gibson. Lee has been all around the world giving seminar/training and he is an experienced judge. His course is always VERY challenging. You can look up his course here or on the WAO website for his WAO 2012 courses.
I am more confident in playing Gamblers but again this is an International Gambling course. I am greedy, I want to collect more points to push us up the scoring board. I want to work out a way that Sizzle and I can collect more points including the bonus points by not touching the see-saw. I know we have a slow see-saw and we will not risk taking too much time on that obstacle. It all worked out well for us the way we ran, sadly, he got penalised on his running Dog Walk, we lost out on the highest 5 points but he did the Gamble #2 of 20 points. I was so very proud of my little Sizzle. His sending on was amazing, he didn't even look out for me. We got 3rd in the class and missed out on the podium. We came overall 4th and was only 2 points out from Bronze. I am SO happy!! That's a big achievement for us first time at an International event!
It was a great surprised for coming 3rd. I was too busy taking photos while they were calling out for prize giving. All I heard was people calling ... Lian! Lian! Lian! ... I didn't even know what was going on as I was on the other side on the crowd! A big thank you to Bernadette to run up to the car to fetch Sizzle for me for the prize giving. I was over the moon!
Again, another long day but very happy. Sunday is the last day of competition, all runs were in the Main ring. I have the Biathlon Agility with Sizzle. The course was set by a Danish judge Thomas Ammitzbøll. My worried was the tunnel underneath the Dog Walk. We had to do the same tunnel three times, each time from different approach and different angles. Luckily, I have our Team Coach Anthony Clarke there to help me to pick the best route.
Deep inside me, I know how much I want to nail this run. I want to give it my best shot. I have a good position in the Jumping round and I am desperate to run clear. Unfortunately, the weave pole let us down again. Sizzle pop out of 10th pole. I knew then my podium dream place has vanished! After the weave mistake, we ran clear in the rest of the course with a slow hand clap from the judge and the crowd. I've learned that the slow hand clapping is actually an encouragement before the competition starts. I did ran my heart out like I wasn't eliminated at the rest of the course. The good point is Sizzle has a good see-saw. That's pleasing.
Team England has done well. We've made up 3 World Champions and numerous medallists! Congratulations to all! What a Team!
I've learned so much during the trip and enjoyed every minute throughout the entire Championship. Everyone is lovely, helping and supporting each other. I want to say a HUGE thank you to Tace-Allan Hunt, for warming Sizzle up before every of our runs. She is a great therapist and is always calm. Sizzle was definitely benefited a lot from Tace's warming up as he ran so well in all his runs.
Also, I would like to Thanks Bernadette for guiding me through the hard times and worries; and to reassure me and Sizzle that we are a great team. Without you, we won't be strong enough to stand in front of the big crowd!
My THANKS also go to ...
Leah who trains me and MAKE me RUN till the last obstacle! It's in my mind now, everytime I run, I always remember to keep running till the very last jump!
Nicolina who kindly looked after Sonic for me, shower him with love.
Ann who kindly looked after Sipzie, make sure she is well behaved :)
Mum & dad to look after Sing and Saturn;
Vanessa to look after Seagull
Colin, my dear husband who is always there to support my hobby.
And finally, my little Sizzling Star, lives up to his name to share our journey together!
Without you all, my dream will never come true!